Tuesday, 22 May 2012


I notice there are a number of places throughout this week's blog where it's not obvious I've included a link. It's worth hovering your cursor over people's names, or over book titles, or over places where you think I should have included a link if I'd been on my mettle, just to check.

The nap never materialised but I'm still going.



After negotiating the heavy police presence and 90 degree heat of Chicago in our two hours before we needed to leave for O'Hare, Ken and I then had a two-hour delay on the tarmac as thunderstorms passed over. However, all home safely now.

Next year's conference, the Ninth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, is entitled 'Qualitative Inquiry Outside the Academy'. Laurel Richardson (from Ohio State) and Russell Bishop (University of Waikato Hamilton) are the keynotes and, I would speculate, are likely to be less controversial than this year's.

There is quite a discussion on Facebook about Atkinson and Delamont's keynote presentations (see 'Keynotes' post): Chris Poulos' paper, Transgressions, which concerns the process of attaining tenure, was called out by Delamont in her keynote with the faint praise of being good autoethnography that would be enhanced by 'proper' fieldwork. Chris has posted about this on his Facebook page and a number of others (including Bud Goodall) have chipped in. All very tantalising of me, given that not everyone is Chris' Facebook friend.

A final thought that's stayed with me, from Maggie MacClure's excellent paper on Friday afternoon, 'Language and Materiality in Qualitative Methodology', is her exhortation to engage with the materiality of language (as 'data'). Language is produced by the body, in all its messiness, all its unreliable affects. She talked about snot at one point: ever heard snot referred to in a scholarly paper before ? We need to engage with the base materiality of language, she argues. Traditional analysis, by contrast, she states, would 'prefer its data produced by angels'. Excellent, don't you think?

The collaborative writing group of Ken Gale, Tami Spry, Ron Pelias, Larry Russell and me (or is it '..and I'?) gave our (probably) final presentation together on Friday, in a hidden classroom in the remote outpost of the engineering department. There was a good number to witness us speak our words and shed a few tears, and we managed to get through it in the time we had. Our book has just come out.

End of 2012 blog. Thank you to those who have travelled with us via these pages. Now to acquire prone position in my office: just a few minutes' nap, please.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Day 2, Saturday (and a bit of Sunday morning)

Running out of steam here, folks...

Final early morning before catching the train at 10.15. Breakfast outside on the terrace in the warm early morning sunshine coming up. When we get to Chicago we'll have to negotiate the various travel restrictions being caused by the NATO summit, though it's hard to get any definitive information. One line we've heard is that they're not allowing luggage onto the transit to the airport, so cab it might have to be.

Some highlights from yesterday's action-packed agenda: my fellow speakers on the 'Losing It: Learning In The Ruins' panel I was on, including Larry Russell's on the impact of his (auto)ethnographic work on pilgrimage; Maggie MacClure (from Manchester Met) on rethinking interview data in light of the 'new materialism' (Barad, Deleuze, et al.); and Mary Weems (poet and scholar - check her out on YouTube) on an audience's silent response to her and a colleague's performance: 'White noise, white silence'.

And much more. Find some Larry Russell to read if you haven't already.

Must pack.


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Full Conference, Day 1, Friday.

Everything kicks off early, with the first sessions starting at 8am each day. You could then go to something right through until 5.20pm with only a 40 minute lunch. Each session lasts an hour and twenty minutes and at each time you have about 25 to choose from, with the choices ranging between (at 8am yesterday, say): the contribution of qualitative research to the medical profession, arts-based research and the academy, visual methods and identity work, indigenous approaches to knowledge, disability and education, the doctoral experience (entitled 'Lies my advisor told me: adventures in grad school land'), Bakhtin, qualitative inquiry and the new media, evaluating inquiry, and more.

As it happens, I didn't attend an 8 am session because there was a bit of rehearsing to be done: the collaborative writing 'Spotlight' session that Ken and I had put together was at 9.30am and Susan Williams was presenting a paper about the ending (or not) of the Bristol Collaborative Writing Group. Ken and I were helping out with giving voice to members of the group who aren't here so we ran through that beforehand. For the session itself we were on the top floor of the Illini Union building (the best space to be allotted, even though the rooms are never quite the right temperature). We had a big audience. Susan kicked the session off (with her two little helpers) - and she went down a storm (I failed to arrange for a photo...sorry Susan, sorry other BCWG members.) We then had a group that Ken and I are part of  - 'Encountering Deleuze' - with five of us present out of the seven who write, the paper spinning off from the workshops that Ken and I have run over the past couple of years.


I'm afraid I can't explain the closed eyes and odd posture.

Marcelo Diversi and Claudio Moreira (see a review of their book) spoke about collaborative writing as a radical and subversive practice within the academy, one that shifts the focus onto the cooperative  and the inclusive rather than the competitive and individualistic.

And Elyse Pineau performed a piece about collaborating with 'absent others' - the 'relational efficacy of communing with ghosts'.

The special issue of International Review of Qualitative Research, which these papers will be part of, should be out next year.

The biggest cheer of the session was for the much-loved and much-valued Jane, who would have been part it. Well, she was part of it, materially present or not. Next year, Jane, was the message, next year!

Blimey, I've only got to mid-morning. Back with more of yesterday and some of today later.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Keynotes, Thursday 5.30pm-7.00pm

The full conference opened yesterday evening in the grand, wooden-floored, high-ceilinged ballroom of the Illini Union. Norman Denzin opened proceedings with the usual fulsome welcome to 1,900 delegates:

Not the clearest of images, but you'll get a sense of the grandness perhaps.

The capoeira still on the screen was not Norman's, but was in place for Sara Delamont  from Cardiff, the first keynote, whose recent research has focused on ethnographies of capoeira in the UK. Here she is in action,so to speak (though you'll not be able to see much):

Her main call was for ethnography that, as she put it, 'looks outwards',  in essence a critique of autoethnographic work. 'It's a wonderful time to be collecting data...Other people are more interesting than we are.'

...a call echoed by Paul Atkinson, Dr Delamont's colleague from Cardiff, whose central point was that the 'crisis of representation' has led to too much emphasis on readerly, linear, personal narratives with little intellectual pretension. 'Sentimental realism', he terms it.

There was no time for questions and the conference moved onto the delicious cook-out, which, to their credit, they were brave enough to attend.

Onto today, and it's the collaborative writing panel this morning, with Susan Williams, Ken Gale and me amongst others. More on that later. Wish us luck.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Collecting tickets, Union Station, Chicago, 15 May 7.30pm

I give my credit card to the woman behind the counter. Becky (Ken’s colleague from Plymouth) stands next to me; Ken is right behind us texting.

‘Can I pick up our tickets please?’

‘Where you headed?’

‘Champaign-Urbana, please. Tomorrow morning.’
I give her my university card.

‘Are y’all travelling?’ she asks.

‘Yes, we are. All three of us.’
‘Photo ID then. All of you.’

Becky starts rummaging. Ken continues texting. Becky mutters to me, ‘Might have a problem here. I’ve got photo ID but it’s got a different name on it, my married name.’
I turn to Ken, ‘Ken, you got any ID?’

‘No, I don’t think so,’ he says, looking up from his phone for a moment.

The customer service operative (or whatever) is tapping and clicking. ‘Yeah, I gotta have something from y’all if y’all is goin.’

Becky hands over her university card with the wrong name. ‘This you?’ The woman looks at Becky, ‘But with a different name?’ She tuts.

‘Yes,’ replies Becky. ‘Sorry.’
The woman sighs, and clicks and types and prints and staples.

‘Hey, how about you?’ she calls. Ken is texting again. ‘You gonna get me somethin’ or are you just wanderin’ around like you someplace else?’

I turn. ‘Ken,’ I snap. ‘Just give her something. Anything.’ He puts his phone on the counter to free his hands to dig in his bag. She looks at the phone with disdain.
‘I’ve got my cheque book and bank card,’ he says to me. ‘Will that do?’

‘Just give her something,’ I tell him. He places them onto the counter and takes back his phone.
She is clicking and stapling some more. ‘Your return tickets is gonna be on your right.’ I look down to my right, expecting to see them appear. I can’t see anything being printed. It’s just a sheer metal barrier.

‘You mean down here?’ I ask, indicating the counter to my right. I’m confused.
‘Oh, you funny. You the comedian?’

‘No,’ I tell her. ‘I’m just English.’
‘Here. Sign here. You sign all three here, since it’s your card.’ She ignores Ken’s card and cheque book and hands me the wallet. Outward tickets stapled on the left, return tickets on the right.

We thank her and walk away, Becky and me. Ken is lagging behind, texting.

Urbana-Champaign (or Champaign-Urbana)

We arrived yesterday morning at sunny Urbana-Champaign after a pain-free train journey. (Though getting our tickets was entertaining  and involved us being told off like very naughty children. More about that later, time permitting.)

The conference begins today with workshops morning and afternoon, followed by the opening plenary and cook-out. The workshop programme includes sessions by the usual suspects – Norman Denzin, Laurel Richardson, Carolyn Ellis and Art Bochner, Ron Pelias, et al. – and some newer ones, for example by Lisa Mazzei and Alecia Jackson (on at the same time as Ken’s and mine, unfortunately) and Tami Spry. Tami’s is based around her book, Body, Paper, Stage. Lisa and Alecia’s draws from their book, too, which explores how different theoretical approaches (e.g. via Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Butler, et al.) can be brought to bear on research ‘data’. Check it out: Thinking with Theory in Qualitative Research. Well worth a read.

Paul Atkinson and Sara Delamont – both from Cardiff – are the keynote speakers at the plenary. They have been critical in the past of the kind of work produced by many at this Congress so it’ll be, erm, interesting to hear what they have to say.

Time to do final preparations for Ken’s and my workshop. An 8.30am start, which is a bit antisocial.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chicago Day 2

So, in between the discovery of the best coffee in downtown Chicago (thanks, oh wonderful iPad), just north up Michigan Avenue from the hotel, taking in some decent blues, one or two beers, and the always-stunning Art Institute, Ken and I met with Tony Adams to talk matters autoethnographic.

Tony's book Narrating the Closet is excellent - sharp and evocative and uncompromising (in my view).

(Tony is on the left, Ken on the right. You might just spot the remnants of Ken's croissant on his shirt.)

Uploading photos now mastered, as you can see.

Oh, a highlight from the Art Institute: the work of sculptor, Charles Ray. Hinoki. The photograph does not do it justice. Viewing it was unaccountably melancholic: the lines dug deep inside the hollow, the pock marks, its sheer size. A 200-year mid-life crisis, anyone?

Monday, 14 May 2012

QI 2012 (previously QI 2011)

It's just a few days before this year's International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. There's a much reduced group connected with Bristol going than other years, and no Jane this time round (Jane, we miss you!), so I thought I would take up the challenge, at least to make this one post.
As far as I know, the Bristol-related crew are Susan Williams (a member of the Bristol Collaborative Writing Group), Ken Gale and me, Artemi Sakellariadis (who was the other BCWG member coming) sadly having to stay home at the last minute .

Ken and I are in Chicago, warming up to the conference, as one has to do, staying in the sumptuous Travelodge downtown. We're soon to be joined by four others, Teija Loytonen and Hanna Guttorm from Finland, Gunnhildur Una Jonsdottir from Iceland (all of whom are with us in a writing group that's been working with - funnily enough - Deleuze) and Becky Turner, a colleague of Ken's from Plymouth. We're meeting Susan and others at Urbana-Champaign on Wednesday.

The final program isn't published yet (only three days to go, no rush) so back with news of that in due course... (which kind of obligates me to write again, doesn't it?)

And I haven't yet got the hang of photos. All in good time. Imagine one here:

Chicago is stunning, isn't it?

Right, a walk along S Wabash in the sunshine to breakfast.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Home safely and thinking about next year already ...

Here's hoping everyone has made it safely and comfortably home. Like Jane, I'm already formulating ideas for a Bristol panel next year. On the way home I started reading Ron Pelias's beautiful book, 'Leaning: A poetics of personal relations' (Left Coast Press). In the chapter Walking and Writing with Laurel Richardson, he writes:

Crystalisations: A poetic plea

In postmodern mixed genre texts, the writers do not triangulate; they crystallise. There are far more than 'three sides' by which to approach the world (Richardson, 1997: 92)


Tell it again
and again,
tell it so that all
hear and all
are heard,
tell it so many times
that we know
there is always more
to tell,
tell it so that light
pours through.
a prismatic light,
a rainbow
of desire.

Tell it
to be fair.

Tell it enough
times to learn who
we are.
Tell it again
so we know
what to do.

Tell it
again and again
straight as
one after another
from all directions
the heart

(Pelias, 2011: 80-81)

I've reviewed the photos I took (mostly during the Stellar Patti Panel) and am attaching a few more images here.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Travelling home

Okay well that's it again for another year and we are all headed home. I'm not sure what happened to all the other potential bloggers, but thanks to Donna West our QI newbie for the photos, video and blog of yesterday's proceedings. It was a really great conference with lots of highlights from panels that included Bristol participants.
I agree with Donna that the Bristol panel with Patti Lather was stellar , visually exciting thanks to McLean's artwork and fun (so thanks to Sue Porter for getting this off the ground). Our Pierre Riviere panel was the other collective Bristol group effort which went very well, despite being the very last slot at the end of a very long congress. The panels with Patti Lather, Pierre Riviere and the friday night performance of "leaning", based on/around  Ron Pelias's new book: 'leaning: a poetics of personal relations' were all videoed by Glenn, so hopefully at some point we will make those sessions available. In the meantime here are a few of the illustrations from Sue and Ann's excellent "dollmaking' paper from the Pierre Riviere project. I think we should bring the these papers back to Bristol and present them as part of the university identities theme too. No point in being stellar in Chicago is nobody at home knows what you are up to:

Myriad books were launched at the conference, recommendations from me would be:

Tami Spry's (2011) Body, Paper, Stage Writing and Performing Autoethnography (Left Coast Press)
Soyini Madison's (2010, but new to me) Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance (Cambridge University Press)
Norman Denzin's (2011) Custer on Canvas Representing Indians, Memory, and Violence in the New West (Left Coast Press) -mentioned below by Donna West.

The other recent text that I've found really excellent this year, which also jointly won the QI book award this year, was 
Marilyn Metta's (2010) Writing Against, Alongside and Beyond Memory:
Lifewriting as Reflexive Poststructuralist Feminist Research Practice ) Peter Lang. 

I particularly like the first two chapters of this book in which she sets out her methodological stall as the basis for presenting three very differently authored and interwoven life narratives.

Highlights of the conference 

Well I agree with much that Donna says below, although I thought another  highlight in terms of critical visual inquiries was her own short extract from her work on deaf-hearing families, which i hope we can present at Bristol too. There was also a stunning and very performance-based panel on fathers and sons - including extraordinary contributions from Norman Denzin and Bryant Alexander. The work that seemed to wow everybody that I missed (again) this year was from David Carless and Kitrina Douglas - but at least they are from the UK, so with a bit of luck and a good wind, we might be able to persuade them to do an action replay in Bristol. They have not been to visit us for a while, so we'll see if we can persuade them. 
David Carless and Kitrina Douglas         
   It really was an excellent conference this year and one that I particularly enjoyed, both in terms of being stimulated by other people's work and getting a lot out of my own contributions. QI really is a very good, critical and generous international space in  which to showcase the work of CeNTraL.  Well, that's probably it for another year, although on the way home, buzzing with all the ideas, thoughts performances and discussions of the 7th Congress, I confess I was already half forming and abstract for a panel next year!!!!! 


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Photos from Saturday

Well, the video seemed to work, so here are a few pics from today. This panel was my high-QI-light.

I don't know if this will work, particularly after a couple of beers, but here goes. Dr Viv, we are very proud of you. I'm sorry that the sound didn't work on this clip - it was shot on my phone. There is more footage, but no sound (yet). I've stuck this together and hope it makes it to the blogosphere. If it does, I may stick up some photos from today too. Or I may go to bed.

Friday, 20 May 2011

This is my first attempt to add to this blog. I've just been driven back to my hotel in the middle of nowhere by my favourite cab driver, Willy, who has been telling me in minute detail about the royal wedding, and have a few minutes to reflect on an extraordinary day with no time to eat or pee. As a QI newbie it's taken a while to get into the rhythm of things ...

My highlights: Norman Denzin's stunning Custer piece; the most amazing performance by Megan Keyes on narratives of sport pedagogies; McClain's bea-u-tiful book and Art (with a capital A), Jane's Making Trouble (no change there, then), and the Leanings performance this evening. And lots of other things too. And now I'm frantically scouring tomorrow's programme to see how much I can catch (with no time to eat or pee).

This evening we passed a door in the Levis building with a sign stuck to it saying "This is not an entrance" ... Incidentally, Willy thinks this is a great conference and is really looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

PSYCHO DAY fascinating

Well the first QI 'psychology' day was really interesting.
My keynote (start of day) was on:

Magical realist pathways into and under the psychotherapeutic imaginary

abstract as follows:

My experience of people’s life stories from my work as a narrative therapist consistently destabilized distinctions between imagined/magical and real experiences. I came to realise that the day-to-day magical realist juxtapositions I came upon were encounters with people’s daily lives, as lived, that have remained unacknowledged within the literatures of counselling. In this keynote I speculate about the possible reasons for ‘smoothing’ magical realities into rational realist accounts within the literature of counselling. I tell short stories that illustrate people’s magical/realist manoeuvres out of impossible life circumstances towards different possibilities. I argue that just as writers on the margins have subversively written themselves into different spaces, people at the social and psychological margins have found equally imaginative pathways around life’s walls.

The abstract had not gone into the programme for some reason, so i read it out to people, just so they knew what they were in for...and afterwards invited anybody who felt they were in the wrong slot to go shopping instead...at which point two women got up and went out ..whooooo!!! I hadn't actually meant BEFORE I'd bored them silly...
anyway it went well in the end i think. Very few of them were practitioners, they were mostly mainstream psychology researchers, but all had an interest in qualitative inquiry so they were interested in the ideas if not the practices...and were definitely rivetted by the stories I told from therapeutic conversations...it is the stories that get people's attention every time.
Later on in the afternoon Amia Lieblich 'simply' told two interlocking powerful stories from her life and then asked us if we thought it was qualitative inquiry.... I loved that!!

I won't stick my keynote up, although these ideas and stories are being published in various ways and there may be a publication to come out of the day's presentations. I'll show you a collage of some of the pictures i used as illustrations...it was a good slide show!

 (photomerge of slides including paintings by Chagall (promenade), Magritte (false mirror) and Gina Litherland (Chimera) , photographs from Gothic images, photo-images, anthropologists.com and ESTUDIOS PICASSO, TEQUILA GANG y ESPERANTO FILMOJ.

Apart from enjoying the keynote and being asked some very useful questions I was really struck by a conversation we got into about the overlapping relationships between research interviews and therapy during the afternoon session that got really heated. 
I'm with Art Bochner, who made a distinction between the therapeutic nature of much human interaction and time spent in a designated 'therapy' session. 
However, there seems to be a real  concern about the 'ethics' of straying between mentoring, coaching, interviewing and counselling ( as if these were hard and fast boundaries) amongst the North Americans in particular. There was a lot of talk about the difference between paying someone as a therapist (the client's agency) and being asked to take part in a study (the researcher's  agency) ... as if there was no such thing as invited/cooperative inquiry. 

The 'end of the day' keynote came from Mark Freeman  (author of 'Hindsight' etc). His practice is deeply rooted in phenomenology, so he had different heroes from me, and at times went on about 'the region of truth' and 'real' events a little too much...but he was a fabulous speaker with an important critique of the 'positivist' lobby in that he was saying that if he want to get as close to reality as we possibly can, to how things are for human beings as they live their lives, then we have to get up as s close as we can,which of course is a subjective position. He also argued that  the critique of narrative as a looking back and a distortion can be countered with the sense that narrative inquiries tell us more about what is humanly real than a detached analysis of moment to moment reality (which is also impossible to achieve...)

Everybody has arrived in Urbana now, Donna West arrived last night and came straight out to supper with us all at the bread company, which was strawberry salads as usual.



Moving to Urbana soon...(with apologies to Frank Zappa)

Well it says 19th, but i wrote this yesterday and forgot to post it!

Well....that worked really well - I'm still the only person writing this blog, so something's going wrong with communications here! To be fair Jonathan tried valiantly to blog from Chicago yesterday (where Artemi, McLain, Ken, Jon, Tami and Elyse were all going on architecture tours)...but the blog wouldn't let him in...we'll have to sort that later.

I've changed font, what do you think? 

Anyway, in the meantime, I've flown down to Urbana Champaign and slept really well for the first time (although I've woken up really early again because my predecessor in this room in Gloria's bed and breakfast- currently my favourite person in the world -  had set the radio alarm for 5.30 in the morning.)

Today is "psycho day" and I'm a bit nervous about giving my keynote, although looking forward to the rest of the day on qualitative psychological inquiry... I'll let you know how it all goes! if you want to have a look at what is going on at the congress and/or what we are all doing you can go to the congress website and look us up in the programme or the book of abstracts by surname. 
we are contributing a lot, as ever: 

Bristol Group QI timetable

Jane Wednesday psychology day
314B Union Keynote speaker: Jane Speedy, University of Bristol, UK:
title:Magical realist pathways into and under the psychotherapeutic imaginary

Jon and Ken thursday workshops
Morning, 8:30–11:30 Between the two: Using Deleuzian thought in Collaborative Writing: Ken
Gale & Jonathan Wyatt

Friday Programme

McClain: Arts-Based Inquiry and Education I - 9:30-10:50 164 Noyes
Chair: Christopher Michael Hansen, University of Georgia
Shoes: Seeing the Unseeable through the Familiar, McClain Percy,
University of Bristol

Artemi The Dialogic 1062  11:00-12:20 163 Noyes
Dialogic Inquiry: an Alternative to traditional Academic Writing Forms,
Artemi Ioanna Sakellariadis, Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (Ist speaker)

 McLain Arts-Based Inquiry and Education II 1063 11:00-12:20 164 Noyes
Re/Claimed Book: Seeing Learning Disability, McClain Percy, University
of Bristol  (last speaker)

Donna Discourse/Narrative/Counter-Narrative 1067 1:00-2:20 209 Union
Deaf-hearing family life: narrative and counter-narrative, Donna West,
University of Bristol

J, K et al Spotlight: Darkness and silence: the dis/connection of
writing intimacy 1091  2:30-3:50 209 Union
Chair: Jonathan Wyatt, University of Oxford, Presenter, Ken Gale, University of Plymouth
Presenter, Ron Pelias, Southern Illinois University, Presenter, Larry Russell, Hofstra University
Presenter, Tami Spry, St Cloud State, Presenter, Jonathan Wyatt, University of Oxford

Jane and Tami Making Trouble: Heros, Villians, Victims, and other
Fixated Persona in Autoethnography 1115 4:00-5:20 210 Union
Chair: Tami Spry, St Cloud State
Desperately seeking lines of flight: some small fragmented stories about
my failure to shape up as a a psychotherapy researcher and auto-
ethnographer., jane speedy, university of bristol
Power trouble: Playing Devil’s Advocate in the “Come to Jesus”
Discourse of Doing Autoethnography, Christopher Collins, Angelo State
University, and Tami Spry, St Cloud State

Saturday Programme

Jon and ken Spotlight: On (Writing) Fathers: Part II 2001
8:00-9:20 209 Union
Chair: Tony Adams, Northeastern Illinois University and Jonathan
Wyatt, University of Oxford
Knowing Me, Knowing You: Becoming Father, Becoming Son in the
Fluid Play of Memory, Affect and Intuition, Ken Gale, University of

Jon and Jane Knowledge as cure? Research and/as therapy  9:30-10:50 406 Union
Chair: Carolyn Ellis, University of South Florida
telling, Sophie Elizabeth Tamas, Queen’s University, and Jonathan
Wyatt, University of Oxford
Feeling, Writing, thinking, Liz Bondi, University of Edinburgh
the Client, the Psychotherapist, and the Auto-ethnographer: three
Faces of Jane, Jane Speedy, University of Bristol 

Sue Bodies II 2050 11:00-12:20 405 Union
Listening to the Material: Writing to Objects as a Method of Inquiry,
Sue Porter, University of Bristol

Jon and Tami Spotlight: Critical Beginnings: Reflections and
Refractions Through Seven Years of QI 2105
2:30-3:50 Engineering 106B3
Chair: Jonathan Wyatt, University of Oxford
through seven years of QI: A tale of resisting stories and disembodied
knowledge construction, Claudio Moreira, University of Massachusetts
Love Song for norman Denzin, Tami Spry, St Cloud State
Lost at QI, May 2005. Please return., Jonathan Wyatt, University of

Sue, Jane, Ken, Artemi, McClain Patti Plenary: Getting Lost, Getting Messy and all that Jazz:
Riffing Off and Critically Engaging with Patti Lather’s
Book “Getting Lost”. 2091 2:30-3:50 314B Union
Chair: Sue Porter, Bristol University
Discussant, Patricia Lather, Ohio State University

Bronwyn, Jane, Sue and Artemi Pierre Rivière’s memoirs revisited in Michel Foucault’s
memory...2114        4:00-5:20 405 Union

the ethic of truths: Badiou and Pierre Rivière, Bronwyn Davies,
‘two victoires in conversation’: A fictionalised memoir of the two
women murdered by Pierre Rivière., Jane Speedy, Neel bridges and and Donna Kemp
A wider sense of normal? Seeking to understand Pierre Rivière through
the lens of autism., Artemi Ioanna Sakellariadis
Straining the conventional seams: doll making as a methodology for
exploring the unspeakable -- responses to the Pierre Rivière texts, Sue
Porter and Ann Rippin

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Windy city day two

Well it was chilly to start with, but sunny and bright.
It is weird being in a huge (and quite stunning downtown and by the lake) North American city so far from home, but at the same time spending all day, off and on, meeting people you know. The whole city, around Michigan Avenue, is becoming a nomadic  'Qualitative Inquiry' village - so -

en route to the Art Institute we came across Bronwyn Davies and her colleagues  including Constance Ellwood from Melbourne and Sheridan Linnell from Sydney [Sheridan's recent work has just come out as an e-book with Bentham press - Art Psychotherapy & Narrative Therapy: An Account Of Practitioner Research - I have ordered it for the UoB Education library, but for any practitioner-researchers (or others!) interested in artful post-structural inquiry ( quite a few of the readers of this blog) it is a great read!]
At the Art Institute we met up with Tami Spry (by design) and our very own Sue and Glen (by accident) which was lovely - just bumping into people, like you do in your own village. The Latin American pictures we went to see (below, see previous post) were lovely, but were downstairs, in the basement next to the Gent's.

The work I was most struck by, as ever, we happened upon by accident - this was by a North American photographer/visual artist Uta Barth. I have come across her work before somewhere, but this time she has produced work especially for this exhibition, playing and drawing with white light as it moves across/is moved across thin gauze curtains in her home. The line of light moves, expands, plays and waves across a series of huge photographs mounted around two rooms. We visited this exhibit twice. I found it extraordinary moving...but this (below) doesn't do it justice ... if you get a chance to go and see this...go!

... and to draw a bright white line with light (Untitled 11.3), 2011. Inkjet print, 37 x 56 in. Courtesy of the Artist; 1301 PE, Los Angeles; and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. © Uta Barth, Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and 1301PE, Los Angeles.

We did also go to the Russian tea rooms, but I did not get my writing done, we chatted, caught up with each other's lives a bit ... and later met up with Elyse (great to see her, she drove all the way up and it took her seven hours...blimey!!) and went out for a stunning meal at Gioco's restaurant - during which we did some serious plotting about forthcoming research visits and exchanges and also about a series of bids. We did. We also drank some lovely Martinis ( I don't usually like these kinds of 'prohibition' drinks - but wow!) and got quite silly. The odd thing is that alcohol is supposed to be bad for jet lag, but I feel great this morning - much better than yesterday. Maybe the Martinis just haven't worn off yet....

 Today I'm going to finish my writing ( I'm in a turmoil about my two different and quite critical presentations on auto-ethnography. I had a clear idea about what I was going to say.... and now I think it might be rubbish or at least maybe its all been said before, or..or....... does anybody else do this? ) and then I'm off on the little plane to Urbana/Champaign from O'Hare (Chicago airport). The others are all here for another day and night so maybe somebody else will take over the Chicago end of the blog (hint hint!!). And thanks for all the comments from yesterday - I only just posted them.

Monday, 16 May 2011

In Chicago again

Here we are in Chicago again and its completely living up to its 'Windy City' reputation. It's freezing cold and so windy that our money nearly blew away when we tried to pay the taxi driver from the airport last night. 

Ying Lin couldn't get any funding to come in the end, although she did get married to Steve down in Falmouth a couple of weeks ago (lovely pictures on facebook) so she has not exactly been a slouch since finishing her EdD.

There are 9 of us here this year : Jonathan Wyatt and Ken Gale (EdD graduates), Myself, Artemi Sakkelariadis (PhD graduate and director of CSIE) McLain Percy (EdD student), Donna West (PhD graduate and research asst in GSoE) , Sue Porter EdD student and research fellow with Norah Fry) and Glen Hall (Sue's partner and everybody's main 'techno man' for the conference). I'm not sure if we are all here yet actually as we are all in different hotels, but we all be here by tonight I think!!

Injuries so far (just to keep you up to speed) are that I hurt my back before I came and cannot easily sit down for any length of time, so I spent most of the plane journey wandering around the aisles, irritating the crew. Meanwhile Jonathan twisted his ankle playing football last week, so he is limping and cannot easily stand up for any length of time. Early days yet though - so watch this space for falls, scrapes, disasters and expensive brushes with 'medicare'.

This morning (its early here, six hours behind) we are going to the wonderful Art Institute  as we are just down the road from it. I'm not going to the Kings, Queens and courtiers exhibition, even though its about the French Renaissance - we've had too much of that kind of mullarkey over our side of the pond recently. Herumph!!

Yuyi Morales. Illustration from Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book. A Neal Porter Book published by Roaring Brook Press, 2008.
Anyway, I've got to to go and see the 'Real and Imaginary' exhibition of Latin American paintings, not least since my  'psychology day' keynote on Wednesday is entitled 'Magical realism and the Psychotherapeutic Imaginary' .  [I've got some great magical realist paintings in my powerpoint presentation actually- mostly European rather than Latin American though. I'd up load the slides, but I don't have copyright for them all - and even tho I've acknowledged and referenced all the artists, I don't think its kosher to blog them.]

The Art Insitute exhibition blurb says:

    "Three Latin American artists share the beauty and richness of their cultural heritage in this exhibition  of art from picture books. In a book of Latin American folktales, Raúl Colón layers washes of paint and etched lines, finishing with colored pencils. David Diaz’s brightly colored illustrations portray true stories of Mexican heroes and artists. And with a flair for humor, Yuyi Morales paints hauntingly beautiful, mystical pictures that resonate with the importance of family."

Even if I don't get to that exhibition, I'll just enjoy wondering around the Institute really  - its the most beautiful building, full of light - and then of course there's the gift shop - and lets face it I absolutely deserve some new earrings. I do!

There was talk of going on the river on a tour of the extraordinary downtown buildings again (see QI blog, 2009 in 'older posts--) but is its still this windy I might just have to go to the amazing art shop and  Russian tea rooms opposite the art Institute, at the top of this street and sit eating blinis and sipping lemon tea all afternoon.
Every time I've been here I've meant to go and sit in the Russian tea rooms, whose decor has not changed since the nineteenth century (What's the point of having a Jewish  grandma if you don't sit in the Russian tea rooms every once in a while calling the waiter a 'nebbich' who think's he's a macha?')* - this could be the time I actually get there.
I need to go and sit somewhere actually, because i haven't quite finished tinkering with the paper I'm giving on Saturday. Well, okay, lets be honest, its only half written - so this afternoon could be my moment for catching up.

This evening I think there might be two groups meeting at the lovely Italian restaurant Giocco's. I think the Bristol group as a whole is meeting there tonight, but also Jonathan, Ken and I are meeting up seperately with Tami Spry from St Cloud State University and Elyse Pineau from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale  to talk about plans for the 'fall'. Both of them will be joining us in Bristol at some point in the Autumn so I want to talk timetables, events, etc and we also want to talk about a bid for a shared international ESRC seminar series between Plymouth (Ken), Oxford (Jon) and Bristol - exploring ideas around pedagogy as/is performance. Elyse isn't coming to the congress this year as its at the same time as her son's graduation, but she's kindly driven all the way up to Chicago just for this meeting with us, so we'd better come up with some good plans.

Okay that's all for now...over to the rest of you for a few comments/contributions

* a classic yiddish put down - a nobody (nebbich) who thinks he's a really important person in the community ( a macha)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

New Bristol team for QI 2011 -making preparations

Welcome to the Bristol blog for 2011. This year we have an excellent combination of people, but only one QI 'newbie'.  Donna West is presenting for the first time and Ying Lin Hung has had her paper accepted, but is waiting to see if she can find some funding. When we get to the States we will also be joined by McClain Percy who is travelling up to join us from her home in North Carolina. ( I don't seem to have a picture of McClain, but in the photomerge above you can see Sue Porter, Ken Gale, Jonathan Wyatt, Artemi Sakellariadis , Donna West and Ying Lin Hung and Jane Speedy in that order). We haven't really started to blog yet, but this time there are potential bloggers both at home and away, which could be interesting, since Viv Martin and and Ann Rippin are potential bloggers who are staying this side of the pond. I have been playing around with different templates for the blog this year. I quite like this one at the moment, but it could change - depending on your views. Meanwhile I seem to have found photos of Glenn Hall; McClain Percy; Viv Martin  and Ann Rippin - and so our dodgey company of bloggers and travellers seems to be complete!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Ann's final Celtic Images

These have taken a moment or two to get on the blog, though they were created at Urbana Champaign

Monday, 31 May 2010

Jane's last blog

All home now, weary and jet lagged. My own personal QI award 2010 goes to Viv Martin who fell over in the street and badly scratched and bruised herself on our first day in Chicago, which badly shook her up. Nonetheless Viv managed to take part in two conference panels with great aplomb. The long journey home took its toll on Viv, so she deserves an award - and a bit of a rest for a few days

The 'Bristol panel' proved a mix up in the end in that the venue had been changed and so we had a smaller audience than anticipated as many people were wandering around campus looking for us  - I'm grateful that they even thought of trying in such searing heat.
We've used a 'Bristol plenary' format to try and showcase the work of central and announce ourselves over the last few years, but  I think we"ve done that now out grown the space - and can move on to other things - everybody knows there's a Bristol presence at Q.I. so I think this was probably the last year of the Bristol panel. This year the panel attempted to present the work of about 30 people in all, but in a way each group participating probably deserved its own time slot.

It worked quite well nonetheless, and was on the whole well received - the women and love work was lovely and thoughtful  and the 'taking three words to twitter'  piece worked well (although our timing could have been snappier and it is still perhaps a little too long), the last part of the panel, a venture into magical realism, with at least two of the writers writing from beyond the grave, was both engaging and funny, but the Bristol collaborative writer's group piece didn't really work as a performance piece. It might or might not be something that group wants to write up into a paper, but as a performance piece it didn't work. I found it boring and I was part of it.. good to know!!

For forward thinking people: next year's congress is May 17-23 and the deadline for submitting your dissertation for one of the QI awards is January 15th 2011. For myself, I think I need to get back into this time zone for a bit. Hope you enjoyed our blog. The highlight of the blog for me this year was Ann's artwork which I have really enjoyed.  The highlight of the conference will be harder to decide, much food for thought. I'll end with a collage of scenes from cafes and cookouts - all taken on Cindy's iphone. This is Jane signing out til next year!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Falling in love with Mary, Patti and Betty, again!

 As Viv says there was too much to process as time and the conference speeded up. This is probably the last blog for a while (ridiculously early Sunday morning US time). Saturday was the day of Ken, Malcolm and Cindy all giving well received presentations and of our  collaborative Bristol presentation... more of which later ... but our heroines of the conference were not ourselves (phew!) but, once again, the radical shape-shifting feminist women who dominated Saturday afternoon in different ways (and barely, rarely or not at all , mentioned D & G!!) the African-American poet Mary Weems was extraordinary, as were the other women in her arts-based panel on 'mothering' , using poetry, song, film and live performance.

Half the conference fell in love with Patti Lather (again) for her blend of scholarship, humour and radical determination. Patti and Betty (see below)  took part in two sessions in sequence on the last afternoon, the first on post-qualitative research and the second on political methodology ... and they frankly rocked and stole both shows. I was certainly in that half!! Patti is coming to Bristol this summer to run a workshop (July 16th) , so if you are from Bristol want to work with her there and to qualify for that workshop...get reading her book  'getting lost' which is the criterion for a place in the session.

Meanwhile the other half of the conference (its a qualitative conference, remember, with at least seven overlapping halves) fell in love with Elizabeth St Pierre (Betty)

who sat dressed in elegant black from head to toe, and ripped into the positivist end of qualitative research, who had missed out on so many paradigm shifts they were not even in the conversation and with whom she was just plain BORED. again incredibly scholarly,, scorchingly angry really, but all deleivered with a gloriously dry humour.
Betty and Patti did a double act on post qualitative research  ...  (a suggestion for the future of radical qualitative research that really struck a chord for me was philosophical ethnography., more of which, later).

We'll tell you about our session, [which was more mixed this year (we can't always be fabulous), but gave us some really interesting responses and ideas about whee to take our work] and about the last night cook -out later -right now its nearly half past four in the morning and iIneed to pack up and get to the Amtrak station.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

too much to process

As ever, I am struggling to begin to take in and to reflect on everything that is happening around me, alongside me, and within me. I am not very able to step back and reflect critically on any of it as yet. It has been, and continues to be, an in-the-moment experience of interaction, of withdrawal to nurse my bruised and battered ribs and elbow (following a fall in Chicago), of connection with old friends and new, of hanging out, of worrying, (so no change there!), and so on. I'm still hearing, in my head, Tami's bluesy soulful, powerful voice and presence, as she gave one of the most powerful, political, personal autoethnographic performances I have seen. She reminds me of the power of autoethnography to represent the complex, to blur the personal and political, to challenge and to move hearts and minds and souls.

The congress closes this evening with an 'old-fashioned Midwest Cookout' and music from 'Big Grove Zydeco' before some last minute packing, an early night, and an early morning to climb aboard the train from Champaign to Chicago Union Station. I am so excited by the name of the train -the City Of New Orleans - as the song, by Arlo Guthrie, is one of my favourite train songs! So what other train songs can you think of?!

Twitter at QI: meet Jeffrey Keefer

I have been surprised how little use of Twitter there is at QI. There is an official hashtag #QI2010, yet almost no-one is tweeting. Perhaps the Bristol work to be presented this afternoon is more leading edge in this community than perhaps everyone thought.

But, I've been Tweeting, and discovered Jeffrey Keefer, who kindly put a link to this blog on his Cloudscape blog, which is a rich and interesting resource
His tweet:

@skirrid I just added your blog to the #Cloudscape site http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/2108 for #icqi10 #qi2010

He'll be at the BBQ tonight, and would like to meet the Bristol team. He is speaking in Room 403 Union at 4pm . He's at Lancaster.
Thank you Jeffrey for linking to this blog.

Ann's creative responses

Ann handed me her notebook, her creativity blends the interactions of the day with a considerable depth of knowledge about art history, and her personal capabilities. Who would have thought that a full blown printing press is operational silently in the room next door?

Here are two more daily images, but do seek out and see the originals.


Too much happening!

We've now got to the point in the congress when there is too much happening for any of us really to have time to blog. The congress is in full swing and it has (to quote Tami Spry) definitely got swing Now its  all about choice...if you are presenting, of course, you have no choice, but at other times, you have the choice to sit in the courtyard coffee shop and chat, go to the bookshop, take a nap and/or go to a session which means you miss nine others. Sometimes these choices are hard!!

Yesterday started at 8 o'clock sharp with parallel sessions. I went to a session shared by Jonathan and Ken with Tami Spry, Larry Parker and Ron Pelias continuing with an online collaborative writing venture they've been engaged in for three years now. Things are getting a little messier in this group now which I found more interesting. It seemed as if their performance was neater than their experience which I found engaging and intriguing. I was interested in what was not said. There was much talk and writing in this session about what was possible between them, which of course left me gripped by what is impossible, not said and unsayable (preoccupations of mine generally in this kind of work I should admit... I sort of wanted them to read a bit more about other online collaborative writing groups and in particular Annie Rogers on the unsayable and Adriana Cavarero and Judith Butler on blindness in the accounts we give, but (and you gotta laugh at this) I did not clearly say so - much food for thought, and some discomfort for me in this session.

Next I was part of a panel 'review  for Laurel Richardson's book 'Last writes"
a daybook for a dying friend. Each of the panellists took a piece of the book that struck a chord in some way to read out and then ask the author about. This worked well and was well attended.
We all chose different aspects of the book, mine being pages 152-153 about (and also not abou) shoes...shoe fittings, shoe sortings and ways of relating with our shoes and their meanings as a parallel process with our ways of relating with our dying. It was a funny passage as a lot of the book is ...and what I particularly liked about the book was the  everydayness of the days spent with a dying friend.

The session seemed to work well, although perhaps lacked critical edge, which may be inevitable when the author, much liked at this conference, is present and is clear from the outset ( we know this because Carolyn Ellis asked her) that there was nothing she would change in the book, that this was the only book she COULD have written.

To be honest I didn't know what to make of that. As soon as I've 'finished' writing, I can always think of other ways of doing that writing, other wishes for the writing as an event in the world etc, even in those rare moments when I am really pleased with my work. Nonetheless its a great book and it was very interesting to hear Laurel speak of the writing of it, of the use of doubling and rhythm and musicality  in its construction. This was a really useful conversation.

As soon as this finished I had to do a high speed whiz across the campus because I was taking part in a performative writing  spotlight on Narrative, Health and Healing. Viv (Martin) and Elyse Pineau  had brought this panel together. We knew each other in this panel and had planned it as a concept, but had no sense of how it would work together as a whole, or exactly what each other was going to present on the night, so we had a great time discovering, in the moment, that our texts were in many ways interwoven in both content and form. Viv's auto-ethnographic presentation was very gently given and softly spoken and I was struck by the the relationship between the day to day and the extraordinary life and death experiences that she has endured.  I hope she writes this as a paper. My presentation was three fragments of a work in progress called ' Dying on the NHS:  a daughter's soliloquy' and although I am immediately critical, I was also pleased with 'how this went' and 'where I am going to take it'.

One of the advantages of being in this panel,was that my presentation was sandwiched between two performance studies scholars, which made me more acutely aware of my own presentation as a performance, but also excited about how much I have to learn about performance and the performative in the development and future of my own work.

Okay I'm fast running out of blogging time here, I might have to come back to this, but i spent the rest of my day, meeting with Dione Mifsud from Malta, discussing some work I am going to be doing with him there in the Autumn, going to Sue Porter and Anne Rippin's rescheduled 'heavenly and legless' performance, which deserved a bigger audience, but had been rescheduled and was therefore difficult to find (they are going to have to publish this, if only to get the feedback they wanted).

Their very creative use of their ipads as interactive visual add ons in this session nearly converted me, but for the moment I am still holding onto my money!! (if you could also write and draw on an ipad with a pen-like gadget I'd be there like a shot, but it lacks this facility).

The working day ended with Tami Spry in performance, which was superb, engaging, scholarly and musically and poetically gripping. Glenn filmed this performance, so hopefully, with Tami's permission we'll be able to show this to people later - although live performance is sometimes hard to capture. I was struck by small things...like maybe even just learning/knowing  the words of a presentation frees you up to engage with your audience so differently from traditional academia.

After Tami's performance most of us went out to supper together at the bread company, where a good time was had by all. I came along later I went to a conference banquet organised by Norman Denzin, which was fun in a different way. I spent most of the banquet swapping stories of how we got here with Suzanne Gannon, who I like more and more. I found out more about her work, what she hopes to do, the constraints imposed by the academy, etc, as she did about me. I also caught up with Patti Lather, who is coming to Bristol later this summer and worked out with her exactly what that workshop will entail, who I should invite etc.

An interesting day, lots of food for thought...increasing domination for some reason by D and G ...

Deleuze and Guattari (which was a bit dull after a while, I feel as if we're done with the D and G a bit in Europe, It is as if North America has suddenly discovered D and G and frankly I wanted a bit more variety, diversity and above all edgey political and feminist thought...
Why don't they think more actively and or with Cixous, Cavarero, Butler and Kristeva I wonder? All these women are alive ...what's the problem with them? The fact that they are women or the fact that they are alive?
Anyway, I must go, because its Saturday morning and we have our group presentation to deliver today...